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Figure Skating Athletes Heading to Nationals

posted Aug 15, 2012, 12:06 PM by Info Webmaster
Five athletes from Dofasco Skating Club’s Special Olympics Figure Skating program have earned a spot on Team Ontario’s roster for the 2012 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games.

David Robertson (Hamilton Mountain), Nicole Vespa (Hamilton Mountain), Tim Goodacre (Dundas), Jessica Young (Mississauga) and Sara McKelvie (Cayuga) will represent the province on the ice in singles, pairs and dance at the nationals February 28 to March 3 in St. Albert, Alberta.  Program coach and Stoney Creek native Lindsay Tarbutt has also been named to the coaching staff. 

“On February 23, when we hold our good luck send-off for the athletes, I will stand back and I will see the mothers and fathers with that tinge of pride – that’s my satisfaction… you put all this work into it to see that it comes off successfully and by success, I mean attention for these athletes and their parents,” program co-chair Frank Sullivan said. 

“We have an absolutely fantastic coaching staff; the overall cooperation between them and what they’ve achieved over the last 15 years is something to be very thankful for. For me, the idea of having all these talents and being able to use that for the benefit of this particular community makes it all worthwhile.” 

Robertson, 30, Vespa, 17, Goodacre, 27, Young, 19 and McKelvie, 15 qualified for Team Ontario’s squad at the Special Olympics Ontario Winter Games last January in Thunder Bay, where they skated to gold medals in their respective events. Robertson, Goodacre, Young and McKelvie also won silver medals. 

The teammates comprise the largest ever number of skaters from a single club to compete at the nationals.

“I’m feeling awesome, excellent,” Robertson said. “It’s the plane ride that’s the tricky part; the legs, they get pretty stiff.” 

Vespa, Goodacre, Young and McKelvie said they feel “excited” about the opportunity. 

The teammates agreed the provincials helped prepare them for the nationals. 

“I think competing at the provincials makes you feel more comfortable about being on the ice,” Vespa said. “I mean, I hope so.” 

Goodacre said he’s looking forward to hitting the ice. 

“It’s going to be awesome,” he said. “The most important thing to do is to try your best and have fun.” 

Team Ontario is made up of 195 athletes, 58 coaches and 14 mission staff from across the province. 

In addition to figure skating, the nationals will include alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, curling, floor hockey, snowshoeing and speed skating.

The event is also a qualifier for the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Robertson, Goodacre and Young have previously taken part in Special Olympics world competitions. 

Robertson, Vespa, Goodacre, Young and McKelvie said they’re excited about travelling together to the nationals and meeting other athletes from across Canada. 

They’re also looking forward to making another stop. 

“I’m very excited about the mall– (West) Edmonton Mall,” Young said. “It’s really big, I heard, so I’d really like to go there.” 

“I’m a shopaholic,” McKelvie laughed. “I can’t wait to go to the mall, shop and go on the roller coaster.” 

Dofasco Skating Club’s Special Olympics Figure Skating program is in its 15th season and draws athletes from Hamilton and beyond. 

In addition to attending weekly practices, skaters perform at events and compete at the local, provincial, national and world levels in individual and pair categories. 

“Around 50 to 60 athletes have come into this program at one time or another; the athletes, coaches and parents have made it a success,” Sullivan said. “The program is not just on the ice, it’s also off the ice. We basically have an extended family.” 

Dofasco Skating Club’s Special Olympics Figure Skating program will hold a good luck send-off for Robertson, Vespa, Goodacre, Young, McKelvie and Tarbutt February 23 at 6:45 p.m. at F.H. Sherman Recreation and Learning Centre. 

For more information on the program and/or send-off, call Sullivan at (905) 383-4933.